Spring is in full bloom here in Manitoba.
Your long undies are making their way to the back of your drawer,
Your winter boots are being replaced by rubber boots and dare I say it, sandals!!
And the wonderful smell of barbecue fills the air.
It’s a great time of year!
And with summer just around the corner,
That means your life is going to get crazy with the kids being home,
Trips to the cottage,
Work in the yard,
And all things us Manitobans take advantage of in our relatively short summers.
With all this of this extra fun,
The gym often just gets forgotten.
“I”m outside, this will be my workout today”
“I’m running around with the kids, looks like the gym isn’t going to happen”
“Off to the cottage, I’ll get back on track in September”
But we know this doesn’t work…
The muscle you’ve built can wither away,
That metabolism you’ve revved up can grind to a halt,
And that strength you’ve built up can be knocked back down.
So, this summer don’t skip the gym,
Just dial it back,
And make the most of the time you do have there.
We’ve outlined some strategies to not only spend less time in the gym this summer,
But how to get the most out of every minute.
There’s nothing worse than walking into a gym and seeing people’s noses buried in their phones.
Whether it’s Instagram,
It drives me nuts.
When it comes to gym time,
It’s gym time.
Put away your phone and focus on the task at hand.
Every distraction adds time to your workout,
And takes away from the intended purpose of what you’re there to do.
Whether it’s to shed fat,
Get stronger and faster,
Or build muscle,
Go to the gym to do that.
Eliminate the distractions and get to work.
2. Integrated warm-ups
Cut down on your warm-up by combining a few extra warm-up sets of your first exercise with some dynamic mobility drills.
For example, if you’re doing deadlifts
as your first exercise,
Do a warm-up set of 6 reps with a light weight,
Then do a slightly heavier warm-up set of deadlifts,
Then do a slightly heavier warm-up set of deadlifts,
Then do a final warm-up set of deadlifts,
Now you can get into your working sets.
3. Use total body workouts
Well, we should say, functionally over-reach.
What this means is that you can load up on volume on one week,
Then back off for a week.
This is actually a real thing – functional over-reaching cuts your body down so low that it needs extra time to recover.
A few days after a normal volume workout,
your body would require another workout to prevent de-training and re-stimulate growth and adaption.
This is not the case with an over-reaching workout…your body is still recovering.
Therefore, you can prolong the duration between workouts without any decrements in your fitness.
So, if you know you’re going to the cabin for a week,
hit the gym a little harder than normal leading into that week.
Just don’t over-do this one!
A safe bet is 1-2 weeks of functional over-reaching.
5. Use compound movements
use a ton of muscle.
In fact, the squat uses over 200 muscles.
So, using these big compound movements makes it unnecessary to use small isolation exercises like biceps curls
And even core exercises.
Most of those muscles are covered.
Plus, using big muscle groups with compound movements leaves your metabolism elevated long after the workout is done.
So, not only do these moves cut down on gym time,
They actually more burn fat,
Build more muscle,
And build more strength more than any other moves you can do.
Build your programs around these exercises,
Activate your trunk muscles when doing them,
Use good form
and you won’t need much else 🙂
6. Eat right
Not only does it not really work,
But putting it in your mind that the gym is your primary source of fat burn,
Or strength enhancement is misleading.
Your gym time can be reduced and your results can be augmented by eating slow,
Don’t rely on your gym time to make changes to your body,
Combining eating right with shorter,
More efficient workouts,
Makes fat loss and muscle gain way easier.
7. Manage stress
Actually, going to the gym can be a great source of stress reduction,
But, being stressed out from chasing around kids,
Fighting with your spouse,
Deadlines at work,
And having to fit in your own stuff around everyone else’s
Is a source for disaster.
Stress can actually make you fat,
Make it near impossible to gain muscle,
And basically, make all of your hard work in the gym a waste.
Learn to manage stress and your gains will improve exponentially.
You won’t have to spend hours in the gym because the fat will come off by changing the internal environment of your body.
Your “fight or flight” nervous system will chill out,
And your body can go to work on making positive changes instead of defending itself from a disaster.
To manage stress,
Go for a walk,
Go for a massage,
Go for a float,
Do stuff you love to do,
And watch that fat melt off!
8. Sleep more
You’re probably getting tired of hearing us talk about it…
But, here we go.
If you’re crushing yourself in the gym,
Then crushing yourself in life,
And then staying up late to watch reruns of the office,
It’s really tough to make changes from the work you do in the gym.
The stress of your workouts,
Plus the stress of life,
Plus the stress of not sleeping,
Puts your body into an over-activated state.
This over-activated state makes it hard to recover,
And your body goes in self-defense mode.
It can’t lose fat,
It can’t gain muscle,
And it can’t get stronger,
Because it’s too busy trying not to fall apart.
So, when you see that you’re not making changes and your next instinct is to work out more,
You may run into problems.
That’s why sleep is so awesome.
It actually allows your body to recover from the stresses imposed on it,
Including your workouts.
And it turns out that you won’t need to work out as much.
Sleep will normalize the hormones associated with hunger,
Sleep will normalize the systems associated with fat burning,
And sleep will promote recovery and build muscle.
Basically, sleep will make it unnecessary to grind out mile after mile on the treadmill,
Or set after set on the weights.
Aim for 7-9 hours of shut-eye per night,
Or simply add 10-20 minutes to your current sleep time.
Also, the implementation of a pre-bed ritual
can substantially improve your sleep quality,
And low and behold,
cut down on your gym time.
Being in the gym for hours on end not only makes you less likely to want to go there,
It makes it less likely that you reap the benefits of all of your hard work.
How frustrating is that?
Knowing that the time you spend at the gym could be better spent sleeping,
Or just being outside enjoying the summer.
Well, we’re here to give you permission to do just that.
It will actually make your gym time more effective.
Use the suggestions in this article to keep up your gym habit this summer,
While getting better results than ever!